From 1 April 2024, the European Patent Office (EPO) is offering reduced official fees for micro-entities.

This new scheme is aimed at supporting the growth and development of smaller and less experienced entities by making it easier for them to get access to the European patent system.

Who is eligible?

This fee reduction scheme only applies to the following applicants:

  • Natural persons
  • Microenterprises which employ fewer than 10 persons and whose annual turnover and/or annual balance sheet total does not exceed EUR 2 million
  • Non-profit organisations
  • Universities
  • Public research organisations

Applicants wishing to benefit from this scheme must expressly declare their status under any of the above category.

Which fees are reduced?

The fee reduction applies to:

  • Filing fee including the excess page/claim fee
  • Search fee
  • Examination fee
  • Designation fee
  • Fee for grant
  • Renewal fee

The reduction is 30% of the relevant fee.

What are the pitfalls?

 There are additional requirements to consider before claiming the fee reduction:

  1. In case of multiple applicants, each applicant must be eligible under any one of the above criteria.
  2. The fee reduction only applies to entities having filed less than five European patent applications in the five years preceding the relevant date of the application for which the fee reduction is requested. This cap applies irrespective of the current status of the previous applications.
  3. Incorrect declaration will result in the relevant fee being deemed as not to have been validly paid and the application will be deemed withdrawn. Apart from the existing legal remedies available for the loss of rights, no additional measures are available to correct this defect.
  4. In case of transfer of rights, future fee reduction depends on the eligibility of the new owner and the number of European patent applications filed by them. The transfer does not affect payments made before the date of registration of the transfer.

This scheme is designed to ensure that only those applicants with little to no experience of the European patent system benefit from the support measures.

If you believe you qualify for the new fee reduction, or would like more details, please get in touch with me or your usual contact at Cleveland Scott York.


Khushbu Solanki

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